By Terri Rejimbal, RRCA certified coach
This screen shot shows a marathon run during the pandemic. French marathon runner Elisha Nochomovitz recently made headlines by running an entire marathon on his 7-meter balcony while on lockdown.
Our normal lives have been turned upside down by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Our daily runs and gym workouts that we took for granted have now been halted. Many races and events that we committed to are cancelled or postponed. Olympics are delayed a year! There’s a lot of anxiety and angst about having a “target” goal set on the calendar only for it to be postponed or cancelled altogether. Feeling angry, anxious, and frantic is only natural.
Let’s take a step back and take a deep breath! Everyone is in the same situation. No one is getting “ahead” or has an “edge”. Once acceptance sets in understanding that you can’t control the current situation, but you can change your attitude. Similar to having an injury, let’s turn a negative situation into a positive.
First of all, acknowledge what you can control. Your health and well-being are most important so adhere to social distancing as much as possible. That even includes the roads or trails.
Now’s an opportune time to experiment with your nutrition, supplements, running fuel sources and recovery drinks. By testing beforehand, you’re not taking away from quality training should an untoward side-effect occur.
Strength work. Now’s a good time to start a routine, especially since that extra hour of a long run isn’t necessary. Start with 2 days a week with some simple moves, using body weight, dumbbells, water jugs, concrete blocks, sand bags, or whatever you got. Within 2-3 weeks, you should have established a new habit.
Explore your neighborhood. Seek out a new route. Expand your boundaries. I’m often surprised when running in a new territory of my neighborhood and finding a new shaded spot to run. It’s a bonus if there’s a port-o-let on route.
Play guess the distance or pace. While out on your run, try to guess what distance or pace you are on. No peeking before your guess! This game allows you to get the “feel” of a distance or pace. You’ll be surprised at how your mind/body just knows the pace or distance. Plus, it engages analytical skills under pressure which come handy in times of stress.
Run loops around the block. This is perfect for a beginner. Run 1-block and walk the next, or alternate run and walk at each corner turn. Over time see how many corners or blocks you can run before having to walk. More experienced runners, try running blocks or loops by increasing the pace each time around. It’s a great way to see progress.
Plug a workout into your Garmin and then go out and tear up the streets. For example, run 8 to 12x 400 or 1⁄4-mile, recover for 2-minutes. Do it once a week for 4-weeks and chart your progress. One of my favorites is 3 to 4x (2×800/1mi) alternating half-marathon and marathon pace. I know I’m in shape when I can run it all at half-marathon pace.
Have a regular route. On the following week, see if you can run the same route beating your previous week’s average pace or total time.
If you have the luxury of a treadmill at home, use it for your speed runs instead of logging slow, recovery miles. For those, go outside for some fresh air, vitamin D, and work on your tan. Remember to wear sunscreen and a hat.
Listen to music on a run. Run every other song at a fast clip. Enjoy a podcast on a recovery run.
Now’s the time to make the most of what you can! Set small achievable goals. The weeks will fly by as you chart your progress. It’s always motivating to see progress– big or small. It’s rewarding and keeps up enthusiasm. Before you know it, we will all be out racing on the roads soon!
Stay safe. Stay Sane. Stay Healthy!
Terri Rejimbal is a competitive Masters athlete, 2019 St Pete Runfest half- marathon champion, a 3-time winner and 9-time Masters champion of the Gasparilla Distance Classic half-marathon, 6-time Disney Masters marathon winner, 7-time Florida USATF Athlete of the Year, and a New Balance product tester. Terri is a RRCA certified running coach and available for consulting or coaching services. Contact Terri at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook/terri.rejimbal, Twitter @trejimbal, or Instagram @bayshorerunner